Boutonnieres: 500 years and going strong!

Courtesy of Mr. Williams

Boutonnieres, French for "buttonhole flower, date to the 16th Century. Initially, the purpose of wearing a boutonniere was to ward off bad luck or evil. The boutonniere was the male equivalent of the bridal bouquet, having the same significance and purpose of protection against odors and diseases.

In the 18th century, it became fashionable to leave the top buttons of the frock coats unfastened, falling back and forming the lapel, on which men fastened boutonnieres.

The 19th century the boutonniere became a very fashionable accessory as a splash of color for a sober outfit. Toward the end of the 19th century, the choice of a fresh boutonniere was as important as choosing a pair of well-polished shoes. The flower on the lapel was on the list of men's accessories of the day, which also included watch chains, cigar cases and jeweled pins.

courtesy of Google

The idea of wearing a flower on the lapel survived the tumultuous times of World Wars. Cary Grant and Clark Gable became masculine prototypes, with their black suit always accompanied by a discreet boutonniere, a mark of elegance and masculinity.

Today, boutonnieres are typically only worn by men at weddings. The once traditional rose with a sprig of babies breath has evolved with today’s funky DIY (or SEDI: somebody else do it) style.

Polka Dots and Yellow Lots Boutonniere Polka Dots & Yellow Lots

The options for boutonniere are as wide as the options for anything else in your wedding… endless. Boutonnieres are breaking their traditional ties (haha) and reaching out to hip and trendy items such as succulents, craspedia {billy balls}, ranuculus, berries, seeds and pods. Some brides and grooms are really are leaving fresh flowers behind and crafting boutonniere out of fabric flowers, paper, feathers, sea shells, buttons and pins.


As with most details in your wedding, there are no real rules to what you can and cannot do.  The reality is that boutonnieres have been around far too long for them to ever be out of style. Their style is expanding and evolving for modern man. Roses and baby's breath ARE a thing of the past. So, be inspired and find something that suits your wedding and groom’s style instead.

Happy Planning!

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